As I sit here, sipping my Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice coffee, I realize that every year about this time, I crave the stuff. I stalk the Green Mountain website and wait … wait … until they announce: “Pumpkin Spice coffee is on sale for a limited time!” They say “limited,” because it’s true: Pumpkin Spice sells out almost immediately. I order several bags of it to make sure I get my fix, but it’s never quite enough. Come October, when the Pumpkin Spice is sold out, my craving is never sated. Maybe that’s their sales tactic: always leave the audience wanting more.
This brings up a question: what else do I crave? More importantly, what do I crave here in Phoenix? I have a background of growing up near good food. As a kid, my entire family cooked Italian food from scratch. Around Christmas time, I would always crave the Angeli family homemade ravioli, filled with garlic and covered in cheese. In Charleston, I would have incredible (I’m talking pregnant woman style) cravings for oysters and Bloody Marys—easy to fix in a city by the sea. So now, in Phoenix, what is it I have to have every couple months? Let me tell you …
The Nuclear Fallout martini at West Valley favorite Ground Control. Not for the faint of heart, you might see the mystical Green Fairy after too many of these cool concoctions of Agwa Coca Leaf Liqueur and Le Tourment Vert Absinthe.
Fresh bread with parmesan cheese and garlic butter at Bella Luna. Another West Valley locale, it’s locally owned, and sometimes, the chef escapes the kitchen long enough to sing some Italian opera.
Fish tacos at Gallo Blanco. Light, messy, and filled with flavor. Not only is the food yum-worthy, but the environment is one of the best in the Valley, featuring the backdrop of the hip, retro Clarendon Hotel. Frida Kahlo would have loved it.
Any and all Mexican food, most notably Jake’s guacamole and my homemade margaritas. Tragically, my favorite Mexican restaurant so far discovered in Arizona is Café Poca Cosa in Tucson. My dream is that someday charming owner Suzana Davila will open a restaurant in Phoenix and wow us with even more of her fresh, decadent Mexican feasts.
Hawaiian Ceviche at Hula’s Modern Tiki. The description says it all: fresh white fish, “cooked” in citrus juice, coconut milk, chili, and cilantro. Like summer by the sea … on a plate.
Bruschetta boards at Postino. If you’ve ever been to Postino, you know about the bruschetta. I can’t go there without ordering a board. The best choices? Fresh Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil; Prosciutto with Figs and Mascarpone; and Burrata, Bacon, Arugula, and Tomato.
Finally, the pizza at Cibo. Yes, this place has memories; it’s where Jake and I got engaged. Regardless of this, the pizza is phenomenal. I could never choose a favorite, but with fresh ingredients like basil, prosciutto, arugula, and sliced tomatoes, you can’t go wrong.
Now that I’m starving … what will you crave this incoming fall season? What do you crave in the Valley of the Sun? Share your suggestions with me, and maybe we’ll meet up for dinner soon! I mean, who in their right mind doesn’t love food?